In a surprising turn of events, Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate, has been prohibited from using Eminem's music on his campaign trail after breaking into an impromptu rendition of Eminem's iconic song “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair. Marshall B. Mathers III, widely known as Eminem, personally instructed Ramaswamy to cease using his music during his campaign. This decision was communicated to the Ramaswamy campaign through a letter from BMI, the licensing arm of Mathers's record company, and was later published by The Daily Mail.
The letter, dated Wednesday, stated that any future performance of Eminem's works by the Vivek 2024 campaign would be considered a breach of BMI's licensing rules. It further emphasized that BMI reserved all rights and remedies in response to such a breach. Despite the message's authoritative tone, the Ramaswamy campaign did not contest the decision, indicating their acceptance of the situation.
The occurrence of Ramaswamy's impromptu rap-along with Eminem's music was a rare incident. The 38-year-old political newcomer had revealed to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds that his favorite "walk off" song was "Lose Yourself." Seizing an opportunity, an enterprising sound technician played the track on the fair's loudspeakers. Ramaswamy, unable to resist the moment, grabbed the microphone and enthusiastically joined in. Tricia McLaughlin, the campaign spokeswoman, commented on the incident, stating, "Vivek just got on the stage and cut loose." However, she acknowledged that from now on, they would leave the rapping to the "real Slim Shady," another moniker used by Eminem.
While Ramaswamy has previously expressed his admiration for Eminem, the dissolution of their musical collaboration was perhaps inevitable. Ramaswamy has aligned himself firmly with Donald J. Trump and his brand of right-wing populism, a stance that distinguishes him from his fellow candidates in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Conversely, Eminem has been a vocal critic of the former president. In 2017, he gained widespread attention for his freestyle protest against Trump, in which he denounced him as "a kamikaze that'll probably cause a nuclear holocaust."
The breakup between Ramaswamy and Eminem, although centered around music, reflects deeper ideological divisions within the Republican Party. As Ramaswamy continues to embrace Trump's divisive rhetoric and policies, it becomes clear that his campaign may face challenges, not only in securing musical accompaniments but also in garnering support from a diverse range of voters.